Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Three Years

Three years ago today...

I tried to pick out some wedding photos that y'all haven't seen before (or haven't seen in a long time), so hopefully that wasn't too boring. :)

Three years of marriage to my best friend in the entire world! It feels like we've been married forever, and it also feels like our wedding was just yesterday. Weird how that works out. To be honest though, I'm happy to be done with Year 3 and moving on to Year 4. The first three years of our marriage will always be "the law school years," and we're both really, really glad to have them behind us. We've been really happy the last three years, but we've just felt like we were constantly running toward a finish line, and now we've finally made it! I think Year 4 is going to be amazing!

Here's a fun fact: this summer also marks TEN YEARS since Jeff and I met. That's a decade, y'all. Of course, little fourteen-year-old me had no idea that he'd one day become my husband, but still. Ten years. Gratuitous really old photos:

Those are the earliest photos of the two of us that I have (taken with my very first digital camera, a 3.1 megapixel giant block-shaped thing!). Brought to you courtesy of a high school band trip to Disneyworld. 

Anyway, back to present day... 

Jeff, thank you for being my husband. You'll forever be the best thing that ever happened to me and the biggest blessing in my life. There really is nothing better than falling in love with your best friend. Thank you for inspiring me to be the person you see in me, for getting me through law school, and for accepting all of my imperfections and loving me relentlessly anyway. I love you.

I pre-scheduled this post because I'm on Day 2 of taking the Bar exam today (assuming I didn't have a nervous breakdown on Day 1), so we're going to postpone our anniversary celebrations just a bit until we have the Bar exam behind us. And boy will we have a lot to celebrate then! 

It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13:7-8

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bar Exam

Today's the first day of the Texas Bar Exam. From now until Thursday, I'll be enjoying three days of super-fun testing courtesy of the Texas Board of Law Examiners. 

I would so appreciate your prayers and happy thoughts this week... this is obviously a really important test, and I'm a bit  lot nervous. 

See you on the other side! 


Monday, July 29, 2013

Zucchini Brownies

In honor of Bar exam week (three days of exams starting tomorrow!), I'm sharing a delicious recipe that I never would have found if not for law school. That's right, this one comes from one of my law school friends, Leah, who runs a food blog called Food for the Fresh! This recipe magically uses all sorts of healthy stuff and still comes out tasting like a delicious fat-and-carbs-filled dessert. Whole wheat flour, applesauce instead of oil, two cups of zucchini in an 8x8 pan... Magic! 



Recipe adapted from here.

2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups grated zucchini (2-3 medium zucchinis)
12oz semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Combine the eggs, applesauce, and vanilla in a large bowl. 
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredient mixture into the wet mixture, mixing until just combined.
3. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips.
4. Pour the batter into a lightly-greased 8x8 pan. Top with walnuts (optional). 
5. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted (not through a chocolate chip) comes out clean! Cool on a wire rack. 

(eggs + applesauce + vanilla)

(dry ingredients)

(grated zucchini)


(ready for the oven)



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Roasted Carrots with Olive Oil and Parsley

We've been doing so well with eating lots of veggies lately, and it's all because of how easy and delicious roasted vegetables are! I don't even like raw carrots at all, but I LOVE these roasted ones! I made them once while my brother-in-law was over, and he thought they were sweet potato fries! That's how delicious they are!


Recipe adapted from here.

12 carrots, peeled
3 tbsp olive oil
pepper, to taste
dried parsley, to taste (don't be shy, I put a LOT of parsley in mine!)

1. Cut carrots into long slices and place them in a large Ziploc bag.
2. Add olive oil, pepper, and parsley to the bag and give it a good shake until all the carrots are coated.
3. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spread the carrots in a single layer on the baking sheet.
4. Roast at 425 degrees for 20-24 minutes.

(carrot slices)

(adding oil and seasonings)

(ready for the oven!)



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DIY Burlap "Joy" Banner

I've talked before about how I try to live a life filled with joy. But I'm only human, so sometimes I end up complaining or having a rough day or just being frustrated with various things instead. I think we all do that sometimes. So I made myself a crafty little reminder to hang above my desk and cheer me up when I'm having one of those rough days (and to look pretty on all the good days too!). 

This banner is a quick-and-simple DIY project, and you can personalize the letters (and/or number of panels) to say whatever you want! 



Here's everything you need to have a cute little banner of your own:

Three small pieces of fabric
Stitch Witchery, or some other iron-on hem tape
Craft glue

Step One: Print out the letters you want to use at the right size, and cut them out.


Step Two: Trace the letters onto the back of your fabric pieces, and cut the fabric out.


Step Three: Cut out three banner pieces out of burlap. I just eyeballed this on the first one and then cut the next two to match. First cut a rectangle, then notch a triangle out of the bottom. Fold over the top inch and iron it down (a hair straightener works GREAT for this!).


Step Four: Use craft glue to affix the fabric letters onto the burlap pieces.


I like Sobo. 

Step Five: This is the only semi-challenging part. Put the twine through the folded flap and slide it up as close to the fold as possible. Then place the Stitch Witchery at the bottom of the flap and iron it down (this is also super easy with a hair straightener)!



And then you have a pretty little banner! 



Go forth and live lives filled with joy! 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Lemon & Garlic Green Beans

First of all... guess what Jeff and I are doing tonight?! We're renewing our vows! Our church is hosting an event for all the married couples and we're all going to renew our vows and it's my one-and-only Bar studying break for the week and it's going to be amazing. We're both a little older and wiser now than we were on our wedding day, and we've come to appreciate our relationship and its sacramental significance and our role in leading each other to God more and more throughout the time we've been married, so it'll be kind of amazing to renew those vows with (almost) three years of growth (spiritually, emotionally, and otherwise-ly) behind us. 

Second of all, let's chat about green beans, shall we? (I tried to think of some witty segue between vow renewal and green beans, but I've got nothing.)

Ohhh my, these are so tasty! I could eat a bowl of them for lunch. Any recipe that makes you feel that way about green vegetables is a good recipe indeed! 


Recipe adapted from here.

salt and pepper
1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed
6 tsp olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 tsp dried parsley

1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook green beans until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
2. In the same pot, heat 4 tsp olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 
3. Return the beans to the pot. Add lemon zest and juice, remaining 2 tsp olive oil, and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Toss green beans to coat, and serve immediately.

(green beans cooking)

(cooked green beans)

(after adding the other stuff and tossing!)



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Soy Sauce & Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon

Jeff and I are big fans of this recipe. It's pretty simple to throw together (as long you remember that it needs to marinate for a while), and salmon is pretty healthy, and it tastes good too! My photos for this didn't come out great (I think they got left on the grill a teensy bit too long), but since it's a recipe we use over and over again (rare for an avid new-recipe-tryer like me), I figured it was worth sharing! 


Recipe adapted from here.

1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
lemon pepper
garlic powder
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1. Season salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt. 
2. In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved. 
3. Place fillets in a large Ziploc bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and flip bag over a few times to coat all sides of the fillets. Refrigerate for 2+ hours (I usually just prepare mine in the morning and leave it in the fridge for dinner).
4. Preheat grill to medium heat. Place salmon fillets on the grill (discard the residual marinade). Grill for 6-8 minutes per side, or until the salmon flakes easily with a fork. 

(seasoned fillets)

(marinade mixture)



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sweet Chili Lime Chicken & Cilantro Couscous

[Note: We're heading into Bar Exam crunch time, so posting will probably be a little light for the next couple of weeks. Bear with me!]

I had kind of forgotten about the awesomeness of couscous until this recipe popped up on my Pinterest. I don't normally cook much with lime either, so this recipe was a bit out of the box for us, but we loved it! It came out perfectly, and the lime mixed with the flavor of the cilantro and chili pepper flakes was really just lovely! 


Recipe adapted from here.

Sweet Chili Lime Chicken
1 lb chicken breast, cubed and cooked
6 tbsp soy sauce (low-sodium)
6 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
juice of 1 lime
zest of 1 lime

1. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce, sugar chili pepper flakes, lime juice, and lime zest. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Pour the soy sauce mixture into the skillet and bring to a boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until sauce begins to reduce.
3. Stir in cooked chicken and simmer for 3 more minutes. Stir often to glaze chicken. 

Cilantro Couscous
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup couscous
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Bring vegetable broth to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in couscous and turn off heat. Let sit for 5-6 minutes, or until couscous has absorbed the broth. Stir in chopped cilantro.

Serve chicken over cilantro couscous with extra cilantro and lime wedges as a garnish!

(soy sauce mixture)

(boiling to reduce)

(glazing chicken)

(adding cilantro to couscous)

(chicken, just about done)

(couscous is done!)